Posts Tagged With: congenital heart conditions

Day 1345: Outrageous Values

Last night, when my outrageous boyfriend, outrageous son, and my outrageous self were shopping for boots, rainwear, adaptors, and other things my son will value outrageously once he gets to Scotland for college, I saw an outrageously valuable sign.


It’s outrageous how much I value thoughts inspired by signs like “Outrageous Values.” I hope you value my outrageous thoughts about that outrageous sign:

Values ARE personal, so somebody might think my values are outrageous. It’s outrageous how difficult it is to value other people’s values.  Wouldn’t it be outrageously valuable if we could learn to recognize other people’s values as valuable as our own?

Before I saw that outrageously valuable sign, I saw my friend Barbara, whom I’ve been valuing outrageously for sixty years.  Barbara and I share an outrageous number of values, and we also outrageously respect each other’s valuable differences.

Here are some outrageously valuable creations by Barbara:






I  value all that Barbara creates and  I outrageously value her creations with hearts. Hearts are outrageously valuable to all,  including those of us whose hearts are outrageously unusual.

My outrageous values include wanting to eat whatever I like. Outrageously, I’m going to need to adjust that outrageous value after I get outrageously valuable heart surgery on September 21.  Because I’ll be taking the outrageously valuable medication Coumadin after my heart surgery, I’ll be adjusting my diet (which could outrage me).  Last night, I said to my outrageously valuable boyfriend after reading this article on Coumadin “It looks like I’ll never be able to eat guacamole again.”  Michael outrageously replied, “Well, you’ll just have to eat a lot of guacamole over the next two weeks.”

Isn’t that outrageous? Here are some other images I outrageously valued yesterday:






Are there any photos there that you thought had outrageous values?

Before I leave for my outrageously valuable work, here’s some music with outrageous values:

I outrageously value that Barbara and I will be seeing a production of Sunday in The Park with George next Saturday.

If you leave a comment about your outrageous values, I hope you know it will be valued here to an outrageous degree.

One of my outrageous values is gratitude, so thanks to all who helped me create this post and to you — of course! — for your outrageously valuable presence.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 815: The more you know, the better you feel. 

Here are some photos I took yesterday in the office of my Primary Care Physician, Dr. Laura Snydman:

Do you agree with that? The more you know, the better you feel?

My answer to that?

Here’s more for you to know.  “Whatever” would NOT be my answer. That’s just a cup I saw yesterday evening. My answer would be:

Whether I feel better would depend on the knowledge. 

I DID feel better after I met with Dr. Snydman yesterday and I DID know more, including this:

At least one doctor in my crowd of cardiologists is recommending the  treatment plan I prefer (and which I recommended — in an email, months ago — to another cardiologist).

Knowing that helped me feel much better, because:

  1. That plan — replacing my pacemaker with a pacemaker/defibrillator combo to reduce my risk of sudden cardiac death and to try to restore my heart’s ability to speed up in response to exertion and exercise  — is a much less invasive plan than valve replacement surgery (which I know other knowledgeable cardiologists have been recommending) and
  2. I love feeling smart.*

What more would you like to know now, to feel better?

Here are some other photos I took yesterday, for more knowledge and/or better feelings:


That last image  reminds me of some more better-feeling knowledge: There’s an “ice cream social” today at work.

Do you know any feel-better songs that would fit today’s blog post?

I choose  “Beat 70” by the Pat Metheny Group:

… because I’m hoping my heart will keep beating until I’m 70 (and more).

You might know this: the more you comment, the better I feel.

Many thanks to Dr. Snydman, to the Pat Metheny Group, to medical teams everywhere, to people I know who felt better or who helped me feel better yesterday, to crowds of cardiologists and pacemakers, to ice cream, and — of course! — to you, no matter what you know or how you’re feeling today.

* I was going to write “I love feeling like a know-it-all” instead, but know-it-all’s don’t usually help me feel better.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , | 50 Comments

Day 277: Very Unique

My son and I, who are both a little snobby about grammar, often bemoan the use of the term “very unique.”

We say, “Unique means one of a kind!  How can something be very one of a kind?”  And we sneer a little bit, verbally and facially. (That’s how grammar snobs are.)

So why did I use that term, “Very Unique,” for the title of this blog post?

Well, I’ve been thinking, more than usually this week, about my own uniqueness.

It’s true that each one of us is unique.  We don’t need this guy (or anybody else) to tell us that:


(Although, that can help, sometimes.)

So, yes, each of us is unique, but I may be a little more unique than most. That’s because (as I’ve blogged about before, this year), I have a very unusual heart.  I have Congenitally Corrected Transposition of the Great Arteries.


After I first found out, at age 27, that I had a heart like that, I remember having a conversation with my mother about it, in the hospital cafeteria.

I said to her, “So, my aorta and pulmonary arteries are switched.  That, by itself, would have been very, very bad for me, at birth. However, my heart also has another very, very bad mistake.  The ventricles are switched, too. So my blood goes to all the right places.”

I paused, for the punchline.

“Mom, for years, you have been telling me that ‘two wrongs do not make a right.’  I guess NOT.”

If my memory serves me well, my mother looked at me and said, “Oh, Ann!”  (If my memory serves me well, my mother said that on other occasions, too.)

So, what’s my point, today?

Here’s one:  Of all the people in the world, I should be the MOST forgiving of mistakes. I am, literally, living proof that two giant mistakes are better than one.

So maybe I’ll remember that, the next time I beat myself up about some mistake.

My original intent, in writing today’s post, included presenting some hard data about how very unique my heart actually is. So here are some numbers, from The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia website:

CCTGA is a rare heart defect. Only 0.5 to 1 percent of all people with heart defects have CCTGA. This means there are about 5,000 to 10,000 people in the United States with this condition.

I guess that IS a  pretty small group.  (Although —  as with everything — I guess it depends on how you look at it. I wouldn’t want to have all the people with hearts like mine over for a party, any time soon.) (And yet, who knows? Maybe that would be do-able, too. We could always order out, for pizza.)

I still haven’t made my originally intended point, in writing this blog post today.

Here it is:  Yes,  I am very unique. The chances of somebody being born with my kind of heart is (conservatively) approximately 10,000/314 million*.

However, you are very unique, too.

Here’s some math about THAT (quoted from Ali Binazir’s website)**:

Scientists calculate the probability of your existing as you, today, at about one in 400 trillion.

All this math is making my head hurt, right now.  But I believe I am correct in this:

My very-uniqueness is negligible, compared to the very-uniqueness of each of you, reading today.

As a matter of fact, what are the chances of YOU reading this blog post, written by ME, right now?

Now, my head REALLY hurts.

But let’s just say I’m very grateful, for all of it.

Thanks to Fred Rogers, Ali Binazir, and every very unique person, reading right now.

* 314 million is the 2012 population of the U.S. (The up-to-the-minute U.S. census numbers are unavailable today, October 4, 2013, because of the U.S. government shut-down.)

** Thanks to Google, as usual, for helping me find this.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

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